ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Boylan Titans were hit hard by COVID-19 in the spring football season. Then the Titans were hit hard by graduation. So where do the Titans stand going into this season?
The Titans enter this season having won their last 17 NIC-10 games. They went 3-0 in the spring season, but it still left a bad taste in their mouths.
“It definitely left something like we lost something last year, and we should have gotten it back, but coming out here we’re going to have a chip on our shoulder,” said linebacker and tight end Tyler Mathias.
The Titans won their first three games and then they had their three remaining games wiped out due to COVID, none bigger than their game against the reigning conference champions the Harlem Huskies.
“We had a lot of great seniors last year and to have that season cut short and not be able to play with them for one more game, one more big game, it stunk,” said Boylan quarterback Joey Appino.
As the Titans prepare for the 2021 season, there are lots of fresh faces on both sides of the ball. Their recent senior class had five first team all-conference selections including quarterback Benito Jass, running back and linebacker Daniel Contreras, and lineman Nick Fehrle.
“When we went into last year, we didn’t go out there with the idea that Benny was going to be the superstar, that happened organically and on it’s own,” said Boylan head coach John Cacciatore. “Daniel was a three-year starter, and so you kind of knew what to expect, but he was as humble as they make them.”
Stepping into bigger roles this year will be versatile quarterback Joey Appino, linebacker and tight end Tyler Mathias, and lineman Matthew Logan. Logan was also a first-team all-conference selection last year.
“Those guys have kind of stood out as leaders,” said Cacciatore. “I think they’re going to the job for us on the field, but they’re going to do any job we ask of them.”
Some might think this is a re-tooling year for the Titans, but they’re not ready to let their streak of conference wins come to an end.
“We try not to think about the streaks, but you’ve got 16, 17 year old kids,” said Cacciatore. “They’re going to hear it, their friends are going to talk about it, you guys are going to talk about it.”
“We just look at it one game at a time,” said Mathias. “Jefferson is going to be coming up Week One, and that’s all we’re focused on right now.”